IL basketball overwhelmed by Penn State in second half


Can Penn State go on the road and take care of business when it takes on IL tonight at 7PM ET?

Christian Lakoseljac was the lone Nittany Lion to win his singles match.

IL showed up for much of the first half against Penn State at State Farm Center on Sunday, but it was unable to overcome a sluggish start following halftime as the home team scored just 16 points in the half. Penn State is putting up 76.2 points per game on offense while allowing just 66.9 per contest. The Illini are now 12-13 overall, 2-10 in the Big Ten and 9-11-1 against the spread.

Penn State, which trailed by four with just seconds to go in the first half, cashed in on an Illini mistake to take a one-point halftime lead, then sped ahead as IL suffered a scoring drought of 7:17 to open the second half.

Senior guard Shep Garner nailed a 3-pointer, and then on the ensuing inbound pass, senior guard Mark Alstork committed a violation.

The Gophers (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) found the basket throughout the game, hitting 3-pointers to extend their lead.

IL missed its first nine second-half shots and didn't score for seven-plus minutes as Penn State went on a 12-0 run to make it 49-36.

IL had the lead for more than 15 minutes in the first half, but squandered it late. "Their minutes were huge in that first half". A Lucas layup at the 1:16 mark made it 36-32, but the Nittany Lions started their game-breaking spurt with five points in the final 3.7 seconds of the half.

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Penn State has won three straight meetings with IL, covering the spread in the last four meetings as well.

Matthew McLaren led Penn State in kills on the night registering 12 to go along with three service aces, one dig and two blocks.

Forward Leron Black scored a game-high 18 points (6-10 FG).

IL is coming off a 78-69 loss at home to Wisconsin for its second straight loss. The public betting is siding with the Nittany Lions as well.

Junior Teniya Page moved up two spots in the career scoring list with a 22-point effort against the Gophers. He has been Illinois' best player in conference play, and without a strong performance from him the Illini clearly struggled.

- Wagner's 72 3-pointers this year are tied for seventh most in a season at Minnesota with Shannon Schonrock in 2003-04. Greg Eboigbodin made his first career start in place of Finke but didn't score.

The Illini will face IN on the Wednesday night. Penn State wouldn't get any closer the rest of the way. The Buckeyes sit atop the Big Ten after a one-point win over No. 3 Purdue last week. IL knocked off the Hoosiers on January 24 for its first Big Ten victory of the season.

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